Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) has announced that the VHA-TPG Telecom spectrum joint venture company, Mobile JV Pty Ltd (JV), has acquired substantial spectrum holdings in all available areas in the 3.6GHz band auction for AU$263 million.
VHA Chief Executive Officer Iñaki Berroeta said the significant spectrum investment will deliver one of the key pieces in VHA’s 5G preparations.
“We have been preparing for the evolution to 5G for several years, and the acquisition of spectrum licences in metropolitan, outer metropolitan and regional areas brings 5G another step closer to reality,” Berroeta said.
“The 60MHz holdings the JV has secured in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Canberra give us a strong 5G spectrum capability in each of these major cities.
“While we are pleased to have secured spectrum licences in every available area, robust competition for artificially limited supply saw the companies participating in the auction pay some of the highest per MHz per pop prices for 5G spectrum in the world so far, with an average price of 29c/MHz/pop. It’s clear there is high demand for 5G spectrum, and more suitable spectrum needs to be made available by government.”
Berroeta said while the proposed merger between VHA and TPG is still pending regulatory approval, VHA and TPG were able to participate in the auction through a joint venture as permitted by the auction rules.
“While VHA has now secured access to 5G spectrum, it is still important that we complete the merger with TPG to create a scale business with a significantly increased ability to invest in networks, new technologies and competitive plans and products for Australian customers,” he said.
“We are in the final stages of virtualising VHA’s core network. We have completed our dark fibre transmission rollout and are finalising our detailed infrastructure planning, while leveraging the expertise of our global shareholders.
“Launching a new generation mobile network is a multi-layered evolutionary process which involves much more than putting some new antennas on poles, and we are progressing all elements of our 5G plans.
“Consumers won’t be able to start using 5G on mobile until enabled smartphones are launched over the next few years, and we are working to launch 5G services in major cities before handsets are widely available.”